The 18th Annual Juneteenth Celebration at Virginia Avenue Park in Santa Monica will highlight “Sustaining Family, Faith and Community” with music, cultural art and history from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 19th.

Presented by the City of Santa Monica and Juneteenth Celebration Committee, Inc., the event commemorates June 19th, 1865 — the day the last African American slaves in Texas were notified of their freedom, two-and-a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

An’Nisa Mansour, leader of ceremonies, story teller and actress, will lead the audience through the different performance venues including a main stage and African American legacy museum.

The entertainment line-up features jazz artists Cikae, the Billy “Drumsticks” Johnson & the Soul Kickers Blues Band; internationally known gospel trio Inspired Voices, the Black Shakespeare Reggae Band, along with hip hop music and poetry. Gospel choirs include First AME Church in Santa Monica, Venice Baptist Church and the Santa Monica College Emeritus Choir.

The legacy museum will feature historical presentations on the contributions of African Americans in the nation and local community, and the history of Juneteenth.

The festival features a marketplace of cultural art and crafts, jewelry, a youth zone, literature readings and African American cuisine including Juneteenth Texas BBQ, Platinum Connections Soul Food, and Louisiana Purchase Creole dishes.—There will also be an “Old Timers” car exhibit featuring vintage Model-T and Model-A cars.

Virginia Avenue Park is at the northwest corner of Pico and Cloverfield boulevards in Santa Monica.

Visitors and neighbors are encouraged to walk, bicycle or park for free at Santa Monica College’s “Structure A” at the corner of Pico and 17th Street.

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